Expectant mothers are a beautiful sign of the gift of a woman’s fertility and the procreative power that brings forth new human life. As science advances and improved ultrasound imaging gives a more detailed picture of life in the womb, a mother can literally “see” her baby, and the unique anatomical features of a genetically distinct human being. Her baby is capable of feeling pain, and has a heartbeat as early as five weeks. Pregnancy can be a time of roller-coaster emotions, with serenity in one moment, followed by tears or laughter in the next–as a woman’s body and mind adjust to the creative forces transforming her body, and sustaining the new life in her womb. The life of her little one unfolds according to nature and mystery. The baby is growing and producing hormonal changes that produce a wide variety of emotional states, and physiological changes in an interdependent relationship between mom and baby.

Thankfully, there is spandex to make the experience fashionably more comfortable, and Trader’s Joe’s for snack food. There is nothing absurd about purchasing two bags of snack food (or packing it in a separate duffel bag, just in case).

The truth is that pregnancy not only brings a woman closer to cooperation with creation and the mystery of life, but it imbues a woman with a more compassionate, empathetic, and caring response toward humanity. Healthy social and emotional responses in adult life are believed to be established early in fetal development. The development of a baby in a mother’s womb is linked to psychological maternal stresses, and some researchers hypothesize that antenatal psychological distress on fetal behavior and child development contributes to human development across the lifespan.

These changes are a powerful reminder of the beauty and fragility of life, and the unique gifts of motherhood in socializing and raising healthy children. By their very nature and their physical and emotional capacity, mothers humanize family and social bonds, and make the world a more humane place. It begins in the womb. Pregnancy is not disease, and though there are risks in some pregnancies,  early prenatal care can be effective in reducing risks and complications, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). 

Expectant mothers are truly special in that they nurture baby (or, babies) as members of the family and society. Mothers are a sign that the future is one of hope and love; not despair and fear. A world that embraces and cares for mothers, embraces hope and love. Hope and love are vital to building a humane and just society; destroying human life in the name of social progress or human rights, only serves to degrade motherhood and devalues women and their children.

Here is a Prayer for Expectant Mothers.

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